2023 Video In-Depth Reporting - Silver

The winning "Wild Hope" series looked at a variety of habitat restoration and species recovery efforts, emphasizing the resilience of nature when given a chance and the value of hope in the face of unrelenting reports on the potentially devastating impacts of climate change. From efforts to introduce a billion oysters along New York City’s shoreline, to assessing the results of dam removals on the Elwha River in Washington state, to reporting on cooperative efforts to create a haven for the endangered red-cockaded woodpecker on an Army artillery range at Fort Liberty (formerly Fort Bragg) in North Carolina, the filmmakers told stories of local changemakers intent on restoring and protecting biodiversity. In New York City, Pete Malinowski is heading a project to build artificial reefs teeming with oysters that can filter contaminants from the seawater and reduce the impact of storm surges. On the Olympic Peninsula in Washington, the Lower Elwha Klallam Tribe has been deeply involved in documenting the recovery of the Elwha River ecosystem ― including increased numbers of salmon ― since the removal of two large dams. In North Carolina, wildlife biologist Jessie Schillaci is embedded at Fort Liberty where she helps study and protect the endangered red-cockaded woodpeckers that make their homes in the longleaf pine forests on the military base. As it happens, the Army’s use of prescribed burns to help manage the landscape for its war games was unknowingly creating optimal conditions for the longleaf pines to thrive. The best way to help the woodpeckers was already routine at Fort Liberty. “It is easy to feel hopeless about the damage humans have done to the planet, but these simple stories offer an engaging, encouraging glimpse into the work being done by everyday Americans to protect their local environments,” said judge Angela Saini, British science journalist and author. Judge Cathy Edwards, a freelance audio producer, called the films beautifully made, interesting and uplifting. “Not only were they visually gorgeous, the stories of community and scientific involvement in restoration projects were skillfully told,” Edwards said. “Throughout each of the films, the meaning of the different landscapes, for people and wildlife, shone through.” Jared Lipworth, studio head and executive producer for the series, said: “The AAAS Kavli award is an important affirmation of the power of strong, science-based storytelling, and we hope it will help raise the profile of Wild Hope and draw attention to the mavericks around the world who are combating the biodiversity crisis.”